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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning novelist & outdoors writer. He has also penned a fishing handbook and a hunting handbook. He is currently working on a bowhunting book.

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December 31, 2018

Affordable Quality Fly Lines

by Bob Banfelder

Following my July 15, 2018 article titled "Finesse Fishing for Fingerlings," several of you asked me to do a report on fly lines in general. Specifically, you had asked that I recommend fly lines ranging from inexpensive to expensive and the differences between them. That's a tall order because inexpensive doesn't necessarily jive with quality. However, in the case of KastKing fly lines, I can fill that request by addressing KastKing products in general via their own catchwords: Affordable Innovation. And that's what KastKing is all about. Addressing quality, especially with regard to the company's higher-end products, both excellence and value go hand in hand at a very affordable price.

KastKing Propel Floating Fly Line

We'll begin with KastKing Propel Floating Fly Line for freshwater angling. Propel Floating Fly Lines presently come in line weights ranging from WF-3-F to WF-8-F, available in three different colors: Evergreen, Salmon, and Yellow. The designation of a WF-6-F fly line translates to Weight Forward-#6-Floating. These fly lines present many of the features found in expensive, high-performance fly lines, such as high-flotation properties, high-end component materials, and silky-smooth surface coatings. As far as virtual coil-, tangle-, and memory-free company claims are concerned, KastKing lines hold their own by comparison to other brands. However, keep this fact in mind: The longer you keep a fly line on the reel's spool, the more it's going to retain its memory. However, it's really a simple matter of running several yards of line through a damp rag just before making your first cast in order to rid the line of memory. I know folks who go through all sorts of antics to eliminate line memory. One method is to stretch the fly line around the ball of their trailer hitch, or around the extended arm of a roof rack. That's a sure way to mar the smoothly finished surface of your fly line. The damp rag approach is a simple solution. You should always have a rag handy anyhow. Also, you could pay out the fly line in a swift moving current to uncurl those memory coils.

Interestingly, KastKing Propel Floating fly lines are designed to be a half weight heavier than labeled in order to help improve turnover as well as to increase casting distance. Some anglers prefer to keep their outfit(s) balanced; for example, employing a 6-weight rod with a 6-weight fly line. Other anglers prefer to go up one size in line weight; that is, utilizing a 7-weight fly line in conjunction with a 6-weight rod. I found this heavier half-size increment rather intriguing. It's a nice compromise between the extra oomph sometimes needed to properly load the rod in the hands of a newbie as well as those who insist on a one-size heavier line weight for a number of reasons. Namely, as mentioned, the benefits of turnover and greater casting distance.

KastKing Propel Floating Fly Lines come spooled with 50–100 yards of 20- or 30-pound test white braided Dacron backing that is already attached to 90 feet of fly line. The line features a welded front loop, which, of course, facilitates leader connection. KastKing's Propel fly lines are constructed with a unique belly design, a short front taper, and a long running line. The overall design of a fly line is the key to its performance. A fly line's construction takes into account its thickness, thinness and consequent heaviness and lightness. For example, a Propel 6-weight is broken down from back to front as follows: 50½ foot running line, 13 foot rear taper, 19½ foot belly, 6½ foot front taper, ½ foot tip (inclusive of a welded font loop). It is a fine freshwater floating fly line for the money ~ $21.98.


KastKing Exergy Floating Fly Line

Taking it to the next level with quality and value in mind, KastKing offers their Exergy Floating Fly Line for fresh water. Forgoing the braided Dacron backing found on the KastKing Propel brand, this 100-foot fly line has two welded micro loops at each end, which facilitates attaching both backing and leaders. Additionally, the tip of the Exergy line is laser printed with its line weight. The line fly line is 10 feet longer than the Propel brand. Presently, Exergy line-weight sizes range between WF-3-F through WF-F. An example of a 100-foot Exergy WF-#6-F is broken down from back to front as follows: 60½ foot running line, 13 foot rear taper, 19½ foot belly, 6½ foot front taper, ½ foot tip (inclusive of welded loop). The noticeable difference between the two fly lines is that the Exergy fly line is super slick, which glides through the rod's snake guides with considerable ease. This, of course, translates into longer casts and offers greater line control. Exergy flylines offer the following colors: Aqua, Evergreen, Salmon, Sky, and Yellow. It is an exceptional freshwater floating fly line for the money ~ $29.98.



Compare KastKing fly lines to fly lines costing three, four, and even five times the amount and you will realize that you are on the brink of a great bargain. How does KastKing manage to do it? Simple. They are an eCommerse company, which translates into considerably low overhead, Internet technology versus brick-and mortar-buildings, fat salaries, et cetera. These are not cheap lines that you spool onto a kid's first fly-fishing outfit, nor are they merely backup fly lines that one has on hand in a pinch. KastKing fly lines are super, great affordable fly lines. Supple and slick as a whistle. Just think how nice it would be to run the full spectrum, having a good many fly lines on hand to fill an assortment of fly angling applications. Now you can.

Bob Banfelder
www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America


Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:
Fiction:

The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy

Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.

The Signing. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.

The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy

The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.

The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.

Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.

The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.

**********


Trace Evidence. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.
**********


Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.

Nonfiction:

The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension

Bull's Eye! The Smart Bowhunter's Handbook ~ Sage Advice on Crossbows, Compound Bows, Broadheads, Targets, Clothing & Gear ~ Bonus Feature: Bowfishing on a Budget. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran bowhunters.

July 15, 2018

Finesse Fishing for Fingerlings

by Bob Banfelder

There are those who seek BIG fish and are only happy when they achieve their objective. Then again, there are those who are more than satisfied with catching and releasing fingerlings (very small trout: brookies, rainbows, browns, along with a plethora of panfish) employing light angling equipment. Working a 3-weight fly rod along with the equivalent of a weight-forward floating line coupled to a 9-foot 7X/1.5 pound or 6X/2 pound tapered leader translates into stealth personified. In our travels, Donna and I often find ourselves somewhere in the middle of a mix between big fish and small fry. When we do encounter miniatures, be they freshwater trout, crappies, or snappers in the suds, we break out our bantam-weight fly outfits and look forward to an hour or so of some solid fun. It's nice to know that should one encounter a fairly decent-sized creature along the way, that the rod has the backbone to battle such a fish.

That's exactly what the Okuma 3-weight SLV Fly (model 4246) wand offers: power when needed in a lightweight, portable 4-piece travel package. It is a medium-fast action graphite rod featuring an aluminum reel seat, full-wells grips, two titanium oxide stripper guides, six stainless steel snake guides, plus tip. It's an easy rod to cast and absolute fun with which to fish, suitable for small streams, ponds, rivers or lakes.


Okuma 3-weight SLV 4-piece travel fly rod spooled with RIO Trout Series In Touch Perception Weight-Forward floating fly line (WF3F) ~ RIO tapered leaders ~ RIO tippet material.

Coupled to a vintage, but reliable Shakespeare Purist reel (model 7595), I filled its spool with 20 yards of backing, 80 feet of RIO Trout Series In Touch Perception Weight-Forward freshwater floating fly line (WF3F) ~ Green/Camo/Tan, and a RIO Fluoroflex 9-foot 6X tapered leader. Good to go.

The union of a precision 3-weight Okuma fly rod casting a RIO weight-forward 3-weight fly line joined to a 100% fluorocarbon tapered leader is the magic that ensures accuracy and delicate presentations. RIO's Fluoroflex Trout tapered leaders boast high abrasion resistance and are virtually invisible in even a crystal-clear water column. The leader's long butt section ensures an effortless and greater turnover arc in presenting flies to wary trout.

Casting flies ranging between sizes #10 and #14 will ensure a smooth cast and quiet presentation when employing a 9-foot 6X or 7X tapered leader. I generally do not tie or employ nymphs or dry flies smaller than that size. As a matter of fact, a 9-foot 5X fluorocarbon tapered leader is about the heaviest I use for brook, rainbow, and brown trout. Leader pound-test strengths referencing 5X, 6X, and 7X are approximately 4lbs., 2lbs., and 1.5 lbs., respectively. Therefore, you're covered quite nicely for trout in many freshwater streams, ponds, rivers and lakes—from fingerlings to fair-size species—even snapper to cocktail blues and schoolie-size striped bass in the suds.


Schoolie bass on Okuma 3-weight SLV rod.

Keeping to a 9-foot tapered leader is a good choice whether for a beginner or intermediate angler. As one elects to move up in length from 9 feet to say a 12-foot leader, casting becomes a bit more challenging to control. Staying with a mid-range 9-foot tapered leader covers most waters that you'll likely encounter. If you wish to use larger flies for larger species such as lake trout, or move from freshwater applications to serious saltwater situations, you will want to select a sturdier fly rod, heavier fly line and, of course, a stronger tapered leader. However, in keeping with the theme of this article, enticing and finessing fingerling for fun and sport, it's hard to beat a 3-weight graphite fly rod. Okuma is your ticket.

RIO In Touch Perception Weight-Forward 3F (floating) fly line, joined to 9-foot 6X and 7X tapered fluorocarbon leaders, plus approximate .005 .004 tippet material diameters, respectively, and you're ready for both wet and dry fly fishing.

RIO's In Touch Perception fly lines are constructed with ultra-low stretch ConnectCore Technology, which translates into greater sensitivity in terms of detecting subtle takes, thereby increasing reaction time when setting the hook. Fly casting is all about timing and technique, which is what world-renowned Lefty Kreh had taught many of us through some of his remarkable demonstrations; for example, getting down on his knees, separating a two-piece fly rod, then using only its forward section to load and cast a fly line some eighty feet. Amazing!

RIO's Perception SureFire series of fly lines provide a tri-color system that offers spot-on visual timing for greater accuracy and distance casting. Especially for nymph and/or dry fly angling, it is essential that you mend the line, creating a drag free drift. You are ‘In Touch,' with RIO's Perception fly lines, making for easy line lift and precise mends. What is also quite neat is that the front loop is permanently marked with the size of the fly line for easy identification: e.g., RIO Perception WF3F. No mixing up lines when changing from one line weight to another.

Bob Banfelder
www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association

Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America


Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:
Fiction:

The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy


Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.

The Signing. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.

The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy

The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.

The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.

Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.

The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.
**********


Trace Evidence. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.
**********



Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.

Nonfiction:

The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension.

June 18, 2018

Weighing in on Hook Sizes & Fly-tying Material for Success

by Bob Banfelder

Beginning with last month's report on May 1st, in which I presented a guideline for hook sizes and weights referencing both wet- and dry-fly thread-body ant patterns, a couple of folks contacted me and commented that the listing proved very useful. Since we were tying a dry-fly hopper yesterday, I figured I'd offer a general guideline concerning those deadly flies as well as depicting popular size hooks and patterns for two of my favorite terrestrials anent the fly rod for saltwater and freshwater angling: ants and hoppers.

Let's consider four (4) slightly heavier hooks than the Mustad-Octopus Beak hook with which we tied ant patterns earlier in March and April. In sizes 2/0, 1/0, #2, and #4, the Mustad Wide-Gap hook will fill the bill quite nicely for both wet- and dry-fly hopper patterns. In general, the bigger, heavier 2/0 and 1/0 sizes are at home in salt water. The smaller, lighter #2 and #4 sizes are perfect for this large freshwater pattern. I have used all four sizes in both the brine and sweet water, and with absolute success. Here is a general guide for the Mustad Wide-Gap hook and materials for both wet- and dry-fly winged ants plus hopper patterns utilizing a pair of legs; weighted accuracy is within +/- 2.0 grains.

Note: In addition to Mustad-Octopus Beak hooks, corresponding sizes in Gamakatsu Octopus hooks weigh within +/- 0.2 grains of one another. That's certainly not enough of a difference to alter the formula. Weighing hooks beforehand as well as finished flies will save you a great deal of time when tying wet- and dry-fly imitations in foam. Without a guideline, the fly you tie and believe will float like a cork may suddenly sink in the water column after several casts. Layering two strips of foam will not only ensure that your fly will continuously remain afloat, and without the aid of messy chemicals, the fly is easily identifiable in your arsenal. The single strip of foam immediately indicates that it is a wet fly; the two discernable strips show that it is a dry fly. Good to go.

Guidelines for Hoppers ~ Mustad Wide-Gap Hooks:

2/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 1 strip of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 13.2 grains.

2/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 2 strips of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 16.6 grains.

1/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 1 strip of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 11.8 grains.

1/0 hook weighs 9.2 grains ~ 2 strips of 3/8th" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 15.4 grains.

#2 hook weighs 6.4 grains ~ 1 strip of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 9.8 grains.

#2 hook weighs 6.4 grains ~ 2 strips of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 11.4 grains.

#4 hook weighs 4.6 grains ~ 1 strip of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a wet-fly pattern. Total weight of finished hopper is 7.8 grains.

#4 hook weighs 4.6 grains ~ 2 strips of ¼" wide 2 mm foam for a dry-fly pattern. Total weight of finished ant is 10.2 grains.

You will note from the above table that the dry-fly foam patterns are a tad heavier than their wet-fly counterparts because of the added layer of foam. However, it is what gives the dry-fly its buoyancy and balance. Carefully weighing in on hook and material choices, these guidelines will aid the fly tier in constructing imitations that deliver unparalleled performance in the water column. Should you elect to employ other fine hooks such as Eagle Claw, Owner, VMC, et cetera, formulating your own chart is a breeze. A precision digital scale such as the Superior Balance Arrow-2000 covered on April 2nd is the ticket. If you're a bowhunter seeking matchless efficiency referencing broadhead accuracy, well, you've just killed two birds with one stone.


Top row, left to right: Mustad Wide Gap Hooks ~ 2/0, 1/0, #2, #4
Bottom row, left: Mustad Octopus Beak Hooks ~ 1/0, #1, #2
Bottom row, right: Mustad-Viking Hooks ~ #6, # 8, #10, #12, #14 — mainly for freshwater applications.

Suggestions:
For strictly saltwater applications, I would purchase the above hooks in stainless steel in lieu of a nickel finish. A nickel finish is fine for occasional use between saltwater/freshwater applications. A bronzed finish is fine for freshwater applications.
Good to go.

Bob Banfelder
www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning Crime Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association

Recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Who's Who in America


Several of My Award-Winning Crime Fiction Novels Incorporate The Great Outdoors

Top to Bottom:
Fiction:

The Richard Geist Three-Book Series ~ Trilogy


Dicky, Richard, and I. A story of madness in the making. A curious mix of a mother's care and cruelty concerning her young son, Dicky Geist, and the precocious boy's metamorphosis into that of a multiple murderer.

The Signing. An account of a clandestine murderous cult monikered the Inner Circle of Friends, led by Richard Geist. Geist and cult members are hellbent on creating chaos and bringing about the eventual collapse of our government.

The Triumvirate. A tale of Neo-Nazism. Three most powerful men covertly control governments around the globe. Fifty-year-old secrets begin to surface referencing Hitler's progeny, the Manhattan Project, and Nazi gold in this mystery within a mystery. It is the genesis of the Fourth Reich.

The Justin Barnes Four-Book Series ~ Tetralogy

The Author. A prolific serial killer is the author and architect of a covert operation whose job it is to place government operatives within the ranks of worldwide extremist groups. Justin Barnes, a street savvy Afro-American maverick, searches unrelentingly for the madman who viciously murdered Justin's female cousin.

The Teacher. Justin Barnes, working clandestinely with Suffolk County homicide detectives on Long Island, is assigned to help track down Malcolm Columba's associate, serial killer Professor Clarence Emery. The pair had worked in concert, and Justin is out to stop Emery before he strikes again. A terrifying tale of evil and what it takes to stop it in its tracks.

Knots. Kalvin Matheson, an out-of-work insurance salesman obsessed with immortality and hero worship regarding two notorious serial killers, follows in the footsteps of his two diabolical pals, but with a subtle signature twist, utilizing intricate knots.

The Good Samaritans. In this final four-part series, Justin Barnes, once again, assists Suffolk County homicide detectives as part of a covert operation in tracking down Sep Cramer, a politically well-connected, ruthless serial killer.

**********


Trace Evidence. Inspired by the Robert Shulman Serial Killer Trial in Riverhead, N.Y., Robert Banfelder spent every day for 15 months as a spectator to obtain fodder for this novel.

**********


Battered. Based on a true story of an abused woman who murdered her husband, Robert Banfelder communicated with abused women, one of whom spent 15 years in prison for her crime.

Nonfiction:

The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water. A concise yet comprehensive angling and on-the-water activities handbook covering spin, bait, fly-fishing, fly tying, clamming, crabbing, kayaking, canoeing, seafood recipes and much more. For novice through experienced anglers. Endorsed by Left Kreh and Angelo Peluso. [black & white photos]

The North American Hunting Smart Handbook: Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game. A concise yet comprehensive small and big game hunting handbook covering guns and bows. Includes upland bird hunting, land management, whitetail tactics and much more. Special bonus feature includes stories of big game hunting in Africa and Australia by seasoned hunters. [color photos]

The Essential Guide to Writing Well and Getting Published. A must-have guide for both novice and veteran writers. This handbook includes tips on how to make money and gain rewards from outdoors writings. Color-coded lessons for easy comprehension.


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